California Life Sciences Institute Names 2020 Winner of Bay Area BioGENEius Competition

Shreya Ramachandran Advances to the International BioGENEius Challenge

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--#LifeSciences--California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) on Friday named American High School 11th grader Shreya Ramachandran the winner of CLSI’s 2020 Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research and innovation in the biotechnology field. CLSI is the non-profit partner of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), and supports the foundations of innovation – workforce development, STEM education and entrepreneurship – that have made California home to the world’s most prominent life sciences ecosystem.

As the Bay Area BioGENEius finalist, Ms. Ramachandran will go on compete against students from the U.S. and Canada in the International BioGENEius Challenge, which will take place as a virtual competition over several days in conjunction with the Digital International BIO Convention in early June. The projects presented represent a range of biotechnology topics such as healthcare, agriculture, and the environment.

Shreya's project was selected for her research on Water Recycling: The Effect of Soap Nut Grey Water on the Soil Microbiome. Second place went to Anushka Sanyal, a junior from Homested High School in Cupertino, for her research on Intronic RNA as a Therapeutic Target in Neurodegeneration: A Multipronged Study of RNA Lariat Debranching Enzyme DBR1; followed by third-prize winner Claire Tang, an 11th grader from Lynbrook High School in San Jose, for her work on Detecting New Diseases with Explainable Automated Medical Imaging.

Honorable Mentions included: Alice Yeh, a senior at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley School, for her research on Elucidating Nanopore-Based Long-Read Sequencing Limitations By Investigating RNA Sequence and Structure Level Features; Cynthia Chen, a senior at the Harker School in San Jose, for her research on Decoding Neural Networks: Discovery of Anti-Tumor B Cell Receptor Motifs Using a Novel Sequence-Based Computational Framework; and Nikhil Chandra, a junior at Leland High School in San Jose, for his research: A Glove and Software Algorithm that Translate ASL to Text Utilizing Hand Positioning and Facial Expressions.

Though school campuses closed, and many science fairs were cancelled across the state due to COVID-19, CLSI was able to successfully move forward with a virtual Bay Area Challenge with the help of its long-time BioGENEius supporter Amgen. “We were overjoyed when Amgen told us that they wanted us to move ahead with the Challenge,” said CLSI President & CEO, Lori Lindburg, “They said ‘These students have done outstanding research, their school lives have been turned upside-down, let’s find a way to recognize their hard work,’ and so we powered through, and we are so glad they did, because their research really is exceptional.” Over 70 students applied to the Bay Area Challenge, with 26 advancing to the competition. Students presented their research over four hours in the morning, then participated in breakout “chats” with Amgen scientists as the judges deliberated, followed by an Awards presentation presided over by Saptarsi Haldar, M.D., VP of Research, Cardiometabolic Disorders at Amgen.

“The Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge continues to shine a light on some of the Bay Area’s most remarkable high school student researchers. The caliber of the student projects is so impressive and holds great promise for the discoveries of tomorrow that will address our globe’s most pressing challenges,” said Haldar, “We’re all so proud to have Shreya represent us in the International Challenge, one more step in what I’m confident will be a promising and very successful career in science.”

The International BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute. “Our mission is to engage and excite student innovators by creating an environment that allows them to showcase their talents and help accelerate their development as the next-generation of scientists. The BioGENEius Challenges encourage students to apply their scientific knowledge to solve some of society’s most pressing issues through biotechnology, allowing them to see the tremendous potential they have to make change in the world,” said Dr. Lawrence Mahan, President of Biotechnology Institute. “We bring students, mentors and industry leaders together to promote excellence in scientific research from the best and brightest minds in the next generation of biotechnology innovators.”

About California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI)

California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) supports the foundations of innovation that have made California home to the world’s most prominent life sciences ecosystem. With a focus on the San Francisco Bay Area, CLSI’s mission is to maintain California’s leadership in life sciences innovation through support of entrepreneurship, education and career development. CLSI serves as an accelerator for CARB-X, the world’s largest public-private partnership devoted to early stage antibacterial R&D. CLSI is an affiliate of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), which represents California’s leading life sciences organizations. The California Life Sciences Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3), and was established in 1990 as the BayBio Institute. Learn more at

About the Biotechnology Institute

The Biotechnology Institute is an independent, national nonprofit organization dedicated to education about the present and future impact of biotechnology. Its mission is to engage, excite and educate the public, particularly students and teachers, about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems. For more information, visit


Oliver Rocroi
VP, Communications & External Affairs